Published Works

Oklahoma Cherokee Baskets, by Karen Coody Cooper, has been published by History Press and is available in paper or as an e-book at their website at Arcadia Publishing. The book traces Cherokee basketry traditions from the Eastern home to the new environment in Indian Territory.  Forms and uses of baskets changed through the decades, was aided by WPA programs, and thrives today in the fourteen county Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.


Having become aware through my career that living Native Americans had generally been excluded from having a voice in how they were/are represented in museums, I decided to chronicle the efforts of American Indians to challenge museum hegemony.

The protest of the Spirit Sings exhibition in 1988 in Canada was the first major Native protest to grab the world’s attention. Museums began forming Native advisory committees, hiring Native Americans, and reviewing their methodologies. However, American Indians in museums dreaded the coming of the Columbus Quincentenary, as 1992 approached, for it was sure to lead to exhibits which would ignore the inroads that had been made. The exhibit First Encounters caught the ire of Native Americans as it traveled across the continent praising conquerors and dismissing their victims.  These two exhibits led me to title the book, Spirited Encounters. There have been many more protests, relatively unknown before this book bought them together in one volume. Reading the book is an effective way to learn about American Indian concerns, American Indian and non-Indian relationships, and how museums have evolved. Order from AltaMira Press (1-800-462-6420 or or your favorite book dealer.


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FAULT LINE contains 48 poems grouped under headings of Oklahoma Family, Raising Cain, Native Eyes, Interiors of a Woman, Bawdy Body, and Ruminations. Through the past decades I have been interested in family, what it is to be indigenous, what it is to be female, how we relate to the natural world, and how we decipher our lives.

I was invited to contribute an essay to Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing, and Teaching and I wrote about how I published, publicized, and distributed Fault Line. Women on Poetry was published by McFarland and Co in 2012.

FAULT LINE is currently out of print.


Crossing the rain forest river

    On a slippery log

    (He said)

Pales beside the terror

    Of teenage years    

    As viewed from a

    Mother’s nest


(He said)

    A parent never makes it

    To the other side.


American Indian languages are the reason this book was written. The book’s richly saturated illustrations, created by young Cherokee artist Hillary Glass, capture a whimsical side of the bespectacled female Woodchuck whose adventures the story follows as she visits various Algonquian cousins: skunk, opossum, moose, muskellunge, chipmunk and raccoon.

The story is written for 6 to 10 years olds, but the Algonquian-based words encourage initial adult involvement. Published by the Oklahoma-based soddenbank press, the full-color, beautifully illustrated book is sure to delight young readers. 

Illustrator Glass is an up-and-coming young Cherokee artist who has won several awards for her anime-style work at various art shows in Eastern Oklahoma. If schools, clubs, or libraries would like to meet the artist and/or author, call 918-453-3377 or email  The book may be ordered for $10 plus $2 postage from the author: Karen Coody Cooper, 1228 N E ST, LAKE WORTH, FL 33460



I already had a mild interest in wampum belts when I came across an account of Wahachey exchanging wampum with Maryland officials at Fort Frederick during the English war with the French. The accounts of Wahachey capture a forceful personality caught up in perilous political storms. Whose side should he be on? None but his own perhaps. If he survived, so would his people, the Cherokee. But would wampum survive? Knowing that seven mystical Cherokee wampum belts still exist led me searching for historical truth, if it could be found. Now available at the reduced price of $5.00 from the author:  Karen Coody Cooper, 1228 N E ST, LAKE WORTH, FL 33460

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Living Homes for Cultural Expression, co-edited by Karen Coody Cooper and Nicolasa I. Sandoval, contains material prepared by noted Native museum professionals concerning their unique work. Also contains a directory of Native museums in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. To order, go to (the PDF version can be downloaded free from the Outreach section of that same site).


Women Writing on Family is an anthology by female writers discussing their viewpoints and cautions about detailing the lives of our experiences with family. It includes tips on writing, teaching and publishing. Available in book stores. Published by Key Publishing House. Karen Coody Cooper provides tips for writing poetry on grandparents. Available from Amazon and other booksellers online.

N E W……….


If Earth Can Find its Orbit is the second collection of poetry by Karen Coody Cooper.  It is eighty pages of musing on the balancing act of living our lives. Cover art and layout is by Cooper’s husband, Jim Roaix. Content headings are Enormity, Beauty, Love, Neglect, Gender, Native, Internal, and Emergence. $7 plus shipping, orders accepted by the author:   Karen Coody Cooper, 1228 N E ST, LAKE WORTH, FL 33460,  and in Tahlequah at Spider Gallery.

NEW ……….

After learning that the Antioch Baptist Church in Tahlequah (only a matter of blocks from my former century-old house in the heart of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) had been built in 1877 for a congregation of black worshipers and was being sold by the parent church, I became interested in a project to publish a variety of informative history pieces about black Cherokees. Black Cherokee history had systematically been diminished through unmarked graves, continuing vandalism of their cemeteries, removal of black Cherokee-by-blood citizens during the Dawes enrollment, and now this church, a powerful touchstone for area black Cherokees, was sold. Ty Wilson, founder of Cherokees for Black Indian History Preservation (CBIHP) Foundation, became my partner in planning and collecting material for Oklahoma Black Cherokees (published by History Press of Arcadia Publishing). Profits from the book will help preserve history, and perhaps with support from the Cherokee Nation a museum and cultural center can be created in the neighborhood of the old church building. Contributing writers include Art T. Burton, Mark A. Harrison, Daniel F. Littlefield, Tiya Miles, Celia E. Naylor, Shirley Pettengill, Joe Wilson, Ty Wilson, and myself. Stories I wrote include 115-Year-Old Part Negro-Park Cherokee Woman, Zachariah Foreman: The Wealthiest Man in the Cherokee Nation, Will Rogers’ Childhood Mentors, and Civil War Veteran Corporal Allen Lynch. This book may be purchased from the publisher, popular on-line book sellers, or found in various northeast Oklahoma outlets.       

All contents of this website    © Karen Coody Cooper 2018